Frinton prepare for showdown with Swardeston, while Sudbury keep up the pressure
- Credit: Archant
Frinton-on-Sea are relishing this weekend’s potential title decider, against Swardeston, as the two front-runners in the Read Brothers Ltd East Anglian Premier League go head-to-head at The Common in Norfolk.
League leaders FRINTON rallied from a precarious position against Horsford on Saturday, eventually easing to a five-wicket win thanks to an undefeated partnership of 105 between Miguel-Angelo Machado (76 not out) and skipper Michael Comber (51 no).
Horsford recovered from a difficult start, which saw them at one stage floundering on 78 for four, to post a total of 191 for six off their 50 overs at Ashlyns Road.
Ollie Bocking impressed with figures of 10-2-30-3, having removed both openers Matthew Plater (10) and Luke Findlay (11) early on, while his new-ball partner Comber's 10 overs cost just 16 runs.
Jason Reynolds stopped the rot for Horsford with 80 not out, supported by skipper Ryan Findlay (47), and Frinton were staring down the barrel at 92 for five themselves until wicketkeeper Machado's superb knock of 76 off 108 deliveries, in harness with Comber's unbeaten 51 off 53 balls.
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The Essex club reached their target with 2.1 overs in hand.
It was an important win, because Swardeston kept up the pressure with a six-wicket victory at Burwell & Exning to remain just four points behind Frinton, with four fixtures still to play.
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Defending champions Sudbury are still very much in the hunt, after thrashing Saffron Walden by eight wickets to stay 21 points behind Frinton, and 17 adrift of Swardeston.
But all eyes will be on the Swardeston versus Frinton clash this Saturday.
"This weekend is a big game for us, playing Swardeston at The Common," insisted Comber.
"It's going to have a big say on the season as a whole. Obviously a lot of people are going to be interested in this result, especially Sudbury because they will also be looking to pinch top spot.
"It's an exciting fixture, and one to look forward to, and it could well decide how the rest of the season pans out.
"This has been a terrific season for us. We freshened up the squad and we have all gelled well together as a team. Everyone is enjoying the success that we have had this summer.
"I think the team overall looks a lot better. There is less emphasis on a few individual super-stars. Instead everyone is fighting for each other and there is a real togetherness, which is what you need if you want to win the title.
"Obviously having the services of Jaik (Mickleburgh) and Adam (Wheater) at times has helped, especially a player of Adam's calibre (Essex county cricketer) who could have chosen to play his cricket for any club in the country, but was happy to play for us.
"We've only lost one game this season, and that was at the end of our Cricket Week. It was a shame that it happened to be against Sudbury, but our Cricket Week is a real tradition at this club," added Comber.
With regards last Saturday's exciting win over Horsford, all-rounder Comber said: "It was a great game of cricket.
"We let Horsford off the hook a little bit, during their innings, because of a couple of dropped catches. We dropped Jason Reynolds when he was on 10, and also missed a stumping and another dropped catch off Ryan Findlay, so that let them get to 191.
"They came out and bowled very well up top, and we still had a lot to do when I came to the crease with Miguel (Machado). We were a long way from getting home, but we do bat deep as a team and we have that winning mentality this season, which only comes with winning games regularly.
"We didn't panic. There was no need to go hell-from-leather straight away, and it was a great innings from Miguel," added former Essex all-rounder and Bury St Edmunds skipper Comber.
Elsewhere, SUDBURY were in dominant form at home to Saffron Walden, who were promoted last season. The visitors, put into bat after Sudbury skipper Adam Mansfield had won the toss, slid to 107 all out off 37.2 overs.
After Jonny Gallagher bowled opener Jake Foley for a duck, Saffron Walden recovered to 45 for one, only to then lose their last nine wickets for the addition of just 62 runs. Zimbabwean opener Regis Chakabva made 43 off 56 balls, but Giles Ecclestone (23) was the only other batsman to reach double figures.
James Poulson led the way with outstanding figures of 6.2-2-11-4, including the wicket of Chakabva, while Ben Reece weighed in with three for 29 off nine overs. There were also two wickets for Henry Shipley (8-0-18-2).
Despite losing opener Keelan Waldock early on, the trio of Mansfield (30 off 33 balls), Martyn Cull (40no) and Ryan Vickery (22no) saw Sudbury to victory off just 25.5 overs. They are away at Horsford this weekend.
Meanwhile, COPDOCK & OLD IPSWICHIAN celebrated a 45-run win at Cambridge, openers Alex Oxley (54) and Ben Claydon (44) building the platform for a total of 183 for seven off 50 overs.
Cambridge were skittled out for 138 in their reply, the new-ball attack of Matt Hunn and Cameron Valente making early inroads before Claydon took three for 19.
BURY ST EDMUNDS returned to winning ways with a 97-run win at bottom club Vauxhall Mallards, although they were indebted to a marvellous 85 off just 57 balls from Alastair Allchin, batting at No. 8. Bury had been struggling on 18 for four, and then 107 for seven, before advancing to 200 all out.
Mallards were bowled out for 103 with two wickets for Allchin, Sean Cooper and Daniel Moriarty.
MILDENHALL suffered another defeat, losing by five wickets at Great Witchingham. The visitors were bowled out for 204 in the final over, Tristan Blackledge top-scoring with 41. Eight batsmen reached double figures, but there was no big contribution. The hosts, thanks to openers Jack Boyle (96) and Sam Arthurton (50) won with 3.5 overs in hand.